Some comics thoughts which were intended to be brief, but quickly became less so.

Young Avengers: Sidekicks – It Came From the Library! Actually, under the auspices of Inter-Library loan, it actually came from a library in Montana. You’d think there’d be an available copy somewhere more close by, but never look the ILL gift horse in the mouth. Anyway, yeah, I read this, and I thought it was decent and all – I’m a sucker for just about any half-decent Kang story – but I really didn’t see what all the fuss was about. The art was good, and the story was good enough to hold my interest, but the book isn’t really doing anything with the “misunderstood teenagers with superpowers” genre that Runaways wasn’t already doing, and better at that. But still, at least something okay came out of all that Avengers Disassembled hoohaw*, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

Green Lantern: Rebirth
– It Came From the Library, Too! Though much closer, this time. Anyway, okay, yeah, if you’re going to bring back Hal Jordan, this was probably the best way to do it, so kudos to you on that, Geoff Johns. Double kudos for making it an actually enjoyable, engaging story, rather than devolving into a bunch of continuity-heavy fan wankery. Though while we’re on that subject, the amount of hetero manlove directed at Hal over the course of this story gets pretty ridiculous after awhile. All anyone can do, it seems, is spend a whole lot of time talking about just how totally freaking awesome(!!!) Hal Jordan was in his day. Except for Batman (hip deep in his pre-Infinite Crisis “total asshat” phase), who spends so much effort denouncing Jordan at every opportunity that I can’t help but think he’s trying to overcompensate in covering some deeper feelings here. But, of course, we also get a few references to Hal’s luck with the ladies, so that should assuage the fears of any H.E.A.T. members residing in the red states. That aside, I enjoyed this story pretty well – which, considering that Hal Jordan is maybe my least favorite Green Lantern, is really saying something.

Green Lantern Corps 1-4 – I’ve been on a GL kick lately. I blame that free issue of Back Issue I got from TwoMorrows last month. Anyway, as I just said about three lines back, Hal Jordan is my least favorite Green Lantern, but I like the GL concept as a whole, so I when I saw the first issue of this book still sitting on the rack at Newbury Comics, I figured it was worth a look, and have since gone back to the well three more times, so I figure that’s a good sign. Dave Gibbons is writing a good book here (loads better than Rann/Thanagar War), and is really playing up the “GLs as space cops” angle here without it being as cheesy as, I don’t know, Gerry Anderson’s Space Precinct, I guess? Soranik Natu is one of my favorite new characters to come along in awhile – I really dig how she uses her power ring as an investigative tool as much as (if not more than) a weapon – and it’s always nice to see old school regulars like Guy, Kilowog, and Salaak get some screen time (Mogo, too!). I’m not too keen on the Vath Sarn and Isamot Kol, though, as I don’t think the book really needs to play the “mismatched partner” angle (one’s an ex-Rannian soldier, the other’s a Thanagarian lizard man condemned to die… they’re Lanterns!). A solid book that only improves once Gibbons picks up penciling duties in issue 4. I can’t wait to get caught up and see where this goes. I also hope we eventually see some John Stewart in here, and maybe even Rot Lop Fan, the F-Sharp Bell (if you’re gonna bring in Mogo, why not the other brilliant Alan Moore-created GL, too?).

Robin 156 – I think the test of a good superhero comic book writer is how well he or she handles the quiet stories, not just the loud, people getting kicked in the head stories (though those are important, too, don’t get me wrong), and Adam Beechen proves his chops here with this story of Robin encountering a college student who’s threatening to take a nose dive off a Gotham rooftop. Brilliantly handled, I thought – it’s nice to see someone actually admit the very human feeling that, yes, your problems are worse than anyone else’s because they’re happening to you – and well-played against the backdrop of tragedy and loss that has been Tim Drake’s life these past few years (Hey, they actually mentioned Stephanie for a change! That’s a step in a good direction). I dropped this book after the initial Batgirl storyline; not because of any dissatisfaction with the book (especially since I hate the gimp-mask Batgirl), but because I needed to drop some books somewhere and this just didn’t make the cut. But some stuff I read has ended (or is ending soon), and this book does seem really good, so maybe I’ll just have to start catching up.

*Robert Kirkman’s brief Captain America run, while fun, doesn’t count, since it’s connection to the story essentially amounts to a single panel where someone says to Cap, “Jeez, sorry about all that unpleasantness with the Avengers.”

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